Tag Archives: Week18

The highlight of Saipan’s Flame Tree Arts Festival…without a doubt

Last Sunday, June 12, marked the final day of Saipan’s annual Flame Tree Festival–now in its thirtieth year!  Each year, artists, sculptors, and artisans of all stripes come to sell their wares to an appreciative public.

There are also food vendors, performers from across Micronesia and the Pacific. This year’s festivities were held at Saipan’s Memorial Park.




Yes, the festival has been proceeding on its own for 30 years. However, I think I can confidently speak for everyone there on Saturday, that the high point of the day for all in attendance came when a certain Jamaican on Saipan took the stage to learn the Haka dance from the visiting New Zealand delegation. Well, at least it was the highlight for me!

Jamaican takes the stage

Jamaican learning the Traditional New Zealand Maori Haka dance

The Changing Face of Saipan Tourism

With a title like that, I’m sure you expected a lengthy article. However, this is just a quick observation.

First of all, if you’re not aware, Saipan is a tourist island. Traditionally, visitors from its closest international neighbor–Japan–comprised the majority of visitors. In recent months, and then pivotally, as a result of the ongoing nuclear situation in Japan, visitors from that country have dropped to record lows.

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese tourists is increasing. One source on island told me the number of Chinese hotel occupants has doubled from last year.

Personally, I’ve also been meeting some great people from Shanghai and Hong Kong throughout my own travels around the island, and also through my DestinationSaipan site.

I also believe that what Saipan is really offering, as well as what people are attracted to is changing slightly, but more on that later.

Hotel on Saipan

Tourists enjoying a Saipan sunset. I think I may have seen my first green flash!

The changing face of Saipan tourism! Welcome Shanghai!